Foreword: Critical Race Theory and Empirical Methods Conference
9 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2016
Date Written: 2015
Everyone seems to be talking about race. From the protests that erupted in cities across the country over the failure of grand juries in Missouri and New York to indict police officers in the killing of two unarmed black men, to the racially charged statements made by the owners of professional sports teams; and the college fraternity members captured on film singing a racist lynching song; race exploded into the nation’s collective consciousness. Even the Starbucks Coffee chain’s recent “Race Together” campaign, intended to promote discussion about race, sparked a controversy and was quickly withdrawn. These and other events have propelled race to the top of the national media and policy agendas and made it the topic of dinner table and water cooler conversations throughout the United States. Still, broad disagreement remains, particularly between whites and racial minorities, over what these events mean with respect to contemporary race relations.
This dissonance reveals the country’s deep and persistent racial divide. It also raises questions about the operation of race in social relationships and government practices, including the influence of race on public perceptions of criminality and the availability of socioeconomic opportunity — issues that go to the heart of democracy in America. Indeed, despite claims that the election of the nation’s first black President signals the declining significance of race, current events lay bare its continued relevance and suggest the need for a means of measuring, analyzing, and addressing the complicated ways in which race and racial bias remain powerful forces in twenty-first-century America.
This is, therefore, a particularly opportune time for the Fordham Law Review to publish this Critical Race Theory and Empirical Methods symposium, which brings together scholars from the law, humanities, and social sciences to engage critically and articulate innovative analytical frameworks for the examination of race and identity. This essay explores the origins of Critical race theory and empirical methods (“eCRT”) as an area of academic inquiry and introduces the symposium articles that showcase the incredible diversity of this scholarship.
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